Bring it on

It was difficult to ignore the emotions plastered all over Fiji skipper Kevin Naiqama’s face when the national anthem sounded before our test against Wales last Sunday.

As the lyrics of the anthem resounded across the park in Townsville for our second match in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, you could see Naiqama’s emotional reaction.

It got people wondering why our anthem inched out such a powerful response.

His eyes had a sort of blank look in them. They were focused though.

And as the tempo of the national anthem rose, tears slowly covered them.

That was when thoughts of his heritage, his family and friends and all that he valued in Fiji came flooding back.

It attracted questions from the local media. They wanted to know why he was so emotional and how did he reach that state.

“For me, this is the pinnacle of my rugby league career, to represent the country of your heritage, that’s where my parents grew up.

“It’s really close to my heart and it all obviously comes out during the national anthem,” Naiqama said before the team’s captain’s run at the Canberra Stadium yesterday.

Many Fijians obviously can relate to that moment.

They know the feeling of expectation and pride, and they have had the goose-bumps every time the national anthem sounded.

They have felt the excitement and great anticipation our national anthem pricks out.

It is a special sound with very special words that carry deep meaning for thousands of Fijians around the globe.

That’s when men like Naiqama are inspired to give their best effort for Fiji, for their family, and all that they hold dear to their hearts.

They know that in our many urban centres here in Fiji, to the highest reaches of our many mountains, if there is a television signal available, thousands of Fijian fans would be screaming for the Bati.

Naiqama and his men know they carry the hopes and aspirations of an expectant nation. They know they will be on the field tonight with the backing of every Fijian.

A lot is at stake tonight, including our confirmation for a spot in the quarter-finals.

It will not be easy though. The Italians are expected to provide our toughest opposition yet.

Tonight is about belief in our abilities.

Tonight Fijian fans will be banking on national coach Mick Potter to chart a path that leads us past the Italians and through to the next stage of the competition.

Fans will hope our national anthem will continue to instil great pride in our players and inspire them to reach out and live their dreams.

Go Fiji, go.

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